London’s record on childhood obesity has been poor and getting worst for some time. But data for small areas released by Public Health England raise new levels of concern as in two neigbbourhoods a third of the 10 and 11-year old children are now obese.
In the electoral ward of Camberwell Green, Southwark 34% of Year 6 children are obese. In Hoxton West in Hackney its 33%. Only one other area of England has a higher level – 35% in Sutton-on-Sea in Lincolnshire.
The Public Health England data covers nearly 7,500 electoral wards in England and it shows that six of the ten worst areas for childhood obesity among Year 6 children are in London.
It’s a similar pattern for children in Reception, aged 4 and 5, where Woodberry Down ward in Hackney has the worst record in the country and a rate that is double the England average. Six other neighbourhoods in the capital are also among the worst ten in England for this age group.
This small area data is gathered by Public Health England to help target resources to combat child weight problems.
The poor record on obesity for primary school children is reflected more broadly at borough level and underlines that London has one of the most severe problems in the country.
At Reception age, six of the ten local authorities with the highest rates are in London. The highest level local authority average rate in the England is nearly 14% in Barking and Dagenham. Greenwich, Newham, Hackney, Southwark and Tower Hamlets all have rates of 12% or above.
The obesity rates in these boroughs doubles for Year 6 children. Enfield and Westminster also have more than a quarter of Year 6 children classified as obese. Eight of the ten local authorities in England with the highest obesity rates for 10 and 11-year olds are in London.